#26 2017-04-01 02:55:25

https://images-na.ssl-images-amazon.com/images/I/51dj3p6DhAL._SX322_BO1,204,203,200_.jpg

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#27 2017-04-01 08:06:30

Damn cell phone autocorrect.  I'm in Central America wandering about, in search of wireless.  I'll throw in some others. 

Saul Bellow - Dangling Man
John Barth - Giles Goat Boy

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#28 2017-04-01 08:24:08

Smudge wrote:

This seems to be a rough year for death merchants:

http://abcnews.go.com/US/wireStory/ange … n-46467137

The Nine Lives Of The Jackal

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#29 2017-04-01 15:11:45

John D. MacDonalds short story "Spectator Sport".

Read it in one of the Asimov collections, written in the 1950's a short tale about a future where connected 3D/5Senses video games are so addictive and pervasive that the modern world staggers to a halt. 

Looking hard to find it on-line, any help would be appreciated.

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#30 2017-04-01 16:04:48

I see the problem; lots of references to it, but no copy of the story itself. It must be kept under copyright lock and key. I even check torrent, but with no luck.

You could buy an original used copy of the magazine where the story first appeared here (for only around $15) but I realize that's not what you're looking for. I'll keep looking and let you know if I hit pay dirt:

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/THRILLING-WO … 2251844/bd

https://pictures.abebooks.com/BOOKSFROMTHECRYPT/1042251844.jpg

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#31 2017-04-01 16:14:26

Smudge wrote:

I see the problem; lots of references to it, but no copy of the story itself. It must be kept under copyright lock and key. I even check torrent, but with no luck.

You could buy an original used copy of the magazine where the story first appeared here (for only around $15) but I realize that's not what you're looking for. I'll keep looking and let you know if I hit pay dirt:

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/THRILLING-WO … 2251844/bd

https://pictures.abebooks.com/BOOKSFROM … 251844.jpg

We'll buy that for sure.  I had written my first video game and watch the reaction of fellow HS students maybe a year before I read the story (if this is the story or maybe I'm chasing an amalgamation created in my head?).  It clicked with me immediately - the power of designed addiction.

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#32 2017-04-01 16:19:36

Emmeran wrote:

Smudge wrote:

I see the problem; lots of references to it, but no copy of the story itself. It must be kept under copyright lock and key. I even check torrent, but with no luck.

You could buy an original used copy of the magazine where the story first appeared here (for only around $15) but I realize that's not what you're looking for. I'll keep looking and let you know if I hit pay dirt:

https://www.abebooks.co.uk/THRILLING-WO … 2251844/bd

https://pictures.abebooks.com/BOOKSFROM … 251844.jpg

We'll buy that for sure.  I had written my first video game and watch the reaction of fellow HS students maybe a year before I read the story (if this is the story or maybe I'm chasing an amalgamation created in my head?).  It clicked with me immediately - the power of designed addiction.

No...you have the story right; I read the synopsis.

You could also get it from here for free (they claim) but the whole thing has the smell of a spam trap to me, and I wouldn't give them my credit card info anymore than I would give them my first born child.

https://www.scribd.com/document/3401624 … -MacDonald

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#33 2017-04-01 16:40:14

I found it~!

http://documentslide.com/download/link/ … rt-stories

You have to jump through a few hoops to prove that you are not a bot, but the file's there, and I have it on my computer now. It comes in HTML format, and it's not pretty, but it's all there and it's easily readable.

If you have trouble at the site I could send you the file myself.

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#34 2017-04-01 16:46:39

Smudge wrote:

I found it~!

http://documentslide.com/download/link/ … rt-stories

You have to jump through a few hoops to prove that you are not a bot, but the file's there, and I have it on my computer now. It comes in HTML format, and it's not pretty, but it's all there and it's easily readable.

If you have trouble at the site I could send you the file myself.

Wonderful - Thank You and Bite Me (it's still High Street afterall)

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#35 2017-04-01 16:56:44

You bet. Here it is, actually:



SPECTATOR SPORT
by John D. MacDonald
Thrilling Wonder Stories, February

For those of you new to this series, this is the same John D. MacDonald responsible for the Travis Magee novels and sev­eral dozen other terrific suspense tales. Although he left the science fiction field (for the most part) in the early 1950s, he still has great affection for sf and the people who write and read it. His book-length science fiction is confined to the novels Wine of the Dreamers (1951), Ballroom of the Skies (1952), The Girl, The Gold Watch, and Everything (1962) and the collection Other Times, Other Worlds (1978).

“Spectator Sport” is a minor classic, a story with strong political overtones as well as some important observations on the nature of reality.

—M.H.G.

Science fiction, though usually dealing with the future, can’t help but be rooted in its present.

In 1950, for instance, Americans began to realize that televi­sion was not just a fad, not just an oddity, but was going to alter society as deeply and permanently as the automobile had. Many intellectuals viewed it with a kind of horrified despair and began to foresee an unbearable future, as MacDonald does in “Spectator Sport.”

Oddly enough, I think we fear television less now than we did a third of a century ago. (Heavens, is television that old?) Custom hardens us. Nevertheless, we are still capable of being devastated by novelty. Ask people over forty what they think of video games.

—I. A.



* * * *

Dr. Rufus Maddon was not generally considered to be an impa­tient man—or addicted to physical violence.

But when the tenth man he tried to stop on the street brushed by him with a mutter of annoyance Rufus Maddon grabbed the eleventh man, swung him around and held him with his shoul­ders against a crumbling wall.

He said, “You will listen to me, sir! I am the first man to travel into the future and I will not stand—”

The man pushed him away, turned around and said, “You got this dust on my suit. Now brush it off.”

Rufus Maddon brushed mechanically. He said, with a faint uncontrollable tremble in his voice, “But nobody seems to care.”

The man peered back over his shoulder. “Good enough, chum. Better go get yourself lobed. The first time I saw the one on time travel it didn’t get to me at all. Too hammy for me. Give me those murder jobs. Every time I have one of those I twitch for twenty hours.”

Rufus made another try. “Sir, I am physical living proof that the future is predetermined. I can explain the energy equations, redesign the warp projector, send myself from your day further into the future—”

The man walked away. “Go get a lobe job,” he said.

“But don’t I look different to you?” Rufus called after him, a plaintive note in his voice.

The man, twenty feet away, turned and grinned at him. “How?”

When the man had gone Rufus Maddon looked down at his neat grey suit, stared at the men and women in the street. It was not fair of the future to be so—so dismally normal.

Four hundred years of progress? The others had resented the experience that was to be his. In those last few weeks there had been many discussions of how the people four hundred years in the future would look on Rufus Maddon as a barbarian.

Once again he continued his aimless walk down the streets of the familiar city. There was a general air of disrepair. Shops were boarded up. The pavement was broken and potholed. A few automobiles traveled on the broken streets. They, at least, appeared to be of a slightly advanced design but they were dented, dirty and noisy.

The man who had spoken to him had made no sense. “Lobe job?” And what was “the one on time travel”?

He stopped in consternation as he reached the familiar park. His consternation arose from the fact that the park was all too familiar. Though it was a tangle of weeds the equestrian statue of General Murdy was still there in deathless bronze, liberally decorated by pigeons.

Clothes had not changed nor had common speech. He won­dered if the transfer had gone awry, if this world were something he was dreaming.

He pushed through the knee-high tangle of grass to a wrought-iron bench. Four hundred years before he had sat on that same bench. He sat down again. The metal powdered and collapsed under his weight, one end of the bench dropping with a painful thump.

Dr. Rufus Maddon was not generally considered to be a man subject to fits of rage. He stood up, rubbing his bruised elbow, and heartily kicked the offending bench. The part he kicked was all too solid.

He limped out of the park, muttering, wondering why the park wasn’t used, why everyone seemed to be in a hurry.

It appeared that in four hundred years nothing at all had been accomplished. Many familiar buildings had collapsed. Others still stood. He looked in vain for a newspaper or a magazine.

One new element of this world of the future bothered him considerably. That was the number of low-slung white-panel delivery trucks. They seemed to be in better condition than the other vehicles. Each bore in fairly large gilt letters the legend World Senseways. But he noticed that the smaller print under­neath the large inscription varied. Some read, Feeder Division— others, Hookup Division.

The one that stopped at the curb beside him read, Lobotomy Division. Two husky men got out and smiled at him and one said, “You’ve been taking too much of that stuff, Doc.”

“How did you know my title?” Rufus asked, thoroughly puzzled.

The other man smiled wolfishly, patted the side of the truck.

“Nice truck, pretty truck. Climb in, bud. We’ll take you down and make you feel wonderful, hey?”

Dr. Rufus Maddon suddenly had a horrid suspicion that he knew what a lobe job might be. He started to back away. They grabbed him quickly and expertly and dumped him into the truck.

The sign on the front of the building said World Senseways. The most luxurious office inside was lettered, Regional Director— Roger K. Handriss.

Roger K. Handriss sat behind his handsome desk. He was a florid grey-haired man with keen grey eyes. He was examining his bank book thinking that in another year he’d have enough money to retire and buy a permanent hookup. Permanent was so much better than the Temp stuff you could get on the home sets. The nerve ends was what did it, of course.

The girl came in and placed several objects on the desk in front of him. She said, “Mr. Handriss, these just came up from LD. They took them out of the pockets of a man reported as wandering in the street in need of a lobe job.”

She had left the office door open. Cramer, deputy chief of LD, sauntered in and said, “The guy was really off. He was yammering about being from the past and not to destroy his mind.”

Roger Handriss poked the objects with a manicured finger. He said, “Small pocket change from the twentieth century, Cramer. Membership cards in professional organizations of that era. Ah, here’s a letter.”

As Cramer and the girl waited, Roger Handriss read the letter through twice. He gave Cramer an uncomfortable smile and said, “This appears to be a letter from a technical publishing house telling Mr.—ah—Maddon that they intend to reprint his book, Suggestions on Time Focus in February of nineteen hundred and fifty. Miss Hart, get on the phone and see if you can raise anyone at the library who can look this up for us. I want to know if such a book was published.”

Miss Hart hastened out of the office.

As they waited, Handriss motioned to a chair. Cramer sat down. Handriss said, “Imagine what it must have been like in those days, Al. They had the secrets but they didn’t begin to use them until—let me see—four years later. Aldous Huxley had already given them their clue with his literary invention of the Feelies. But they ignored them.

“All their energies went into wars and rumors of wars and random scientific advancement and sociological disruptions. Of course, with Video on the march at that time, they were begin­ning to get a little preview. Millions of people were beginning to sit in front of the Video screens, content even with that crude excuse for entertainment.”

Cramer suppressed a yawn. Handriss was known to go on like that for hours.

“Now,” Handriss continued, “all the efforts of a world soci­ety are channeled into World Senseways. There is no waste of effort changing a perfectly acceptable status quo. Every man can have Temp and if you save your money you can have Permanent, which they say is as close to heaven as man can get. Uh—what was that, Miss Hart?”

“There is such a book, Mr. Handriss, and it was published at that time. A Dr. Rufus Maddon wrote it.”

Handriss sighed and clucked. “Well,” he said, “have Maddon brought up here.”

Maddon was brought into the office by an attendant. He wore a wide foolish smile and a tiny bandage on his temple. He walked with the clumsiness of an overgrown child.

“Blast it, Al,” Handriss said, “why couldn’t your people have been more careful! He looks as if he might have been intelligent.”

Al shrugged. “Do they come here from the past every couple of minutes? He didn’t look any different than any other lobey to me.

“I suppose it couldn’t be helped,” Handriss said. “We’ve done this man a great wrong. We can wait and reeducate, I suppose. But that seems to be treating him rather shabbily.”

“We can’t send him back,” Al Cramer said.

Handriss stood up, his eyes glowing. “But it is within my authority to grant him one of the Perm setups given me. World Senseways knows that Regional Directors make mistakes. This will rectify any mistake to an individual.”

“Is it fair he should get it for free?” Cramer asked. “And besides, maybe the people who helped send him up here into the future would like to know what goes on.”

Handriss smiled shrewdly. “And if they knew, what would stop them from flooding in on us? Have Hookup install him immediately.”

The subterranean corridor had once been used for underground trains. But with the reduction in population it had ceased to pay its way and had been taken over by World Senseways to house the sixty-five thousand Perms.

Dr. Rufus Maddon was taken, in his new shambling walk, to the shining cubicle. His name and the date of installation were written on a card and inserted in the door slot. Handriss stood enviously aside and watched the process.

The bored technicians worked rapidly. They stripped the un-protesting Rufus Maddon, took him inside his cubicle, forced him down onto the foam couch. They rolled him over onto his side, made the usual incision at the back of his neck, carefully slit the main motor nerves, leaving the senses, the heart and lungs intact. They checked the air conditioning and plugged him into the feeding schedule for that bank of Perms.

Next they swung the handrods and the footplates into position, gave him injections of local anesthetic, expertly flayed the palms of his hands and the soles of his feet, painted the raw flesh with the sticky nerve graft and held his hands closed around the rods, his feet against the plates until they adhered in the proper position.

Handriss glanced at his watch.

“Guess that’s all we can watch, Al. Come along.”

The two men walked back down the long corridor. Handriss said, “The lucky so and so. We have to work for it. I get my Perm in another year—right down here beside him. In the mean­time we’ll have to content ourselves with the hand sets, holding onto those blasted knobs that don’t let enough through to hardly raise the hair on the back of your neck.”

Al sighed enviously. “Nothing to do for as long as he lives except twenty-four hours a day of being the hero of the most adventurous and glamorous and exciting stories that the race has been able to devise. No memories. I told them to dial him in on the Cowboy series. There’s seven years of that now. It’ll be more familiar to him. I’m electing Crime and Detection. Eleven years of that now, you know.”

Roger Handriss chuckled and jabbed Al with his elbow. “Be smart, Al. Pick the Harem series.”

Back in the cubicle the technicians were making the final adjustments. They inserted the sound buttons in Rufus Maddon’s ears, deftly removed his eyelids, moved his head into just the right position and then pulled down the deeply concave shining screen so that Rufus Maddon’s staring eyes looked directly into it.

The elder technician pulled the wall switch. He bent and peered into the screen. “Color okay, three dimensions okay. Come on, Joe, we got another to do before quitting.”

They left, closed the metal door, locked it.

Inside the cubicle, Dr. Rufus Maddon was riding slowly down the steep trail from the mesa to the cattle town on the plains. He was trail-weary and sun-blackened. There was an old score to settle. Feeney was about to foreclose on Mary Ann’s spread and Buck Hoskie, Mary Ann’s crooked foreman, had threatened to shoot on sight.

Rufus Maddon wiped the sweat from his forehead on the back of a lean hard brown hero’s hand.

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#36 2017-04-01 17:02:23

Here's a nicely formatted version:

https://wizchan.org/hob/src/1485084243000.pdf

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#37 2017-04-01 17:03:36

If you want some good reads to go with it, you can buy this from Amazon: https://www.amazon.com/Science-Fiction- … 0380464098 for $7.29.

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#38 2017-04-01 17:11:51

Wait, let's get back to the serious literature:


https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/736x/a0/f7/02/a0f7020ddcc628979247f7699cfbeba2.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/236x/56/81/74/568174c267020f36fa8c0584256c85e3.jpg

https://brokenbullhorn.files.wordpress.com/2011/06/and-4-to-go.jpg
I eventually read all of the Nero Wolfe books...

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#39 2017-04-01 20:33:05

Smudge wrote:

I eventually read all of the Nero Wolfe books...

A Donald Westlake and Larry Block fan, too, I'll wager.

Jail Break

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#40 2017-04-01 21:06:54

I know Westlake from his movie treatments (Point Blank is a favorite of mine), but I don't know Larry Block.

After scanning Westlake's Wiki page, I'll bet there are a bunch more that I'd like. But now, books compete with the Interweb for my attention (not to mention the fact that I can find any film ever made online -- and I do). So there's a lot competition for the eyeballs.

Also...there's more great TV made in a year now than was made in the first thirty years of my life. From the standpoint of entertainment, this is a great time to be alive.

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#41 2017-04-01 22:06:32

Smudge wrote:

Wait, let's get back to the serious literature:


https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/73 … fbeba2.jpg

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/23 … 6c85e3.jpg

https://brokenbullhorn.files.wordpress. … -to-go.jpg
I eventually read all of the Nero Wolfe books...

Yeah, I own all of them in paperback and I've started buying them for Kindle.  I even had a hardback of Red Threads, the one and only case with Inspector Cramer that did not include Archie or Nero, but a NW collector persuaded me to sell to them.

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#42 2017-04-01 23:52:14

I started reading Nero Wolfe stories when I was about 12. They were always lying around the house, my parents being mystery junkies -- one of the things I inherited for which I am appreciative. His books are so simply and clearly written that they we accessible even to a kid, but deceptively well constructed, even brilliant in their execution.

I remember that some association of mystery writers voted him the best mystery writer of all time, an accolade which I would have expected Agatha Christie to win. She was more prolific, but her stories weren't nearly as well crafted.

I'm sure that Rex Stout was an unqualified, full bore genius. He lost his first fortune during the stock market crash of the late Twenties, and turned to mystery writing to earn his second one.

Was it his last book where he left J. Edgar Hoover on the doorstep, refusing to let the bastard into his house?

Pound for pound and dollar for dollar, I probably got more fun out of Stout/Wolfe than any other writer or character. Maybe Sherlock Holmes could offer some competition, but that's about it.

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#43 2017-04-02 14:02:47

Introduction to Rex Stout's The Father Hunt
(Published in 1995 as the introduction to a mass market paperback edition of The Father Hunt in Bantam's Rex Stout Library series.)

Some years ago I read an introduction to something or other by somebody or other, in which the introducer presented the idea — as fact — that all writers of fiction have completed their significant work by the age of forty-five. I was, I think, still in my early thirties at the time and so remained calm at this news. Somewhat later the suggestion did return to my mind, however, this time with teeth in it; and I admit I fretted, to the extent that I finally mentioned the gloomy fact to a friend who, taking pity on me, said, "Let me mention two novelists who began to write at age forty-five. They are Joseph Conrad and Rex Stout." After which I stopped worrying about introductions.

Rex Stout may have started late, after several other successful careers, but he hit the ground running. Nero Wolfe sprang full-grown from Stout's forehead in that first book, and though in later years he would write non-Wolfe novels and even try his hand at another series character — from Wolfe to Fox should have been easy, after all — his doom was sealed (a melodramatic phrase that Mr. Stout would never have employed) right from Fer-de-Lance.

Nero Wolfe has become one of those rare creations — like Sherlock Holmes, Tarzan, Horatio Hornblower, and Jeeves — who both overshadow and outlive their authors, and I remember when I first met Mr. Stout, around 1965, being disappointed that he wasn't Wolfe. (He was, instead, charming, open, witty, and wonderfully generous to a young writer.) Had Stout ever chosen to terminate one of Wolfe's rare journeys to the outside world in the trusty old Heron by dropping him off at (or in) the Reichenbach Falls, no one could have blamed him, but I believe Stout submitted with good grace (a cliche he would never have employed) to Wolfe's dominance, and they lived comfortably together for forty-three years.

That would be a long time for any association to last, and is even more remarkable since one of the associates was forty-five years old at the beginning; but what's more interesting, at least to me, is that Nero Wolfe is not a very nice person. He's self-absorbed, selfish, and self-satisfied. He's arrogant and uncivil and socially a fright. He's prissy and misogynistic. He orders people around and gets away with it; In one book he even orders J. Edgar Hoover around and gets away with it. How on earth did Rex Stout put up with the fellow all that time?

Maybe more important, why do we put up with him? Why did all the Nero Wolfe novels sell so very well, and go on selling in edition after edition? Why, seventeen years after Rex Stout's death, is his creation still alive in this freshly printed book you hold in your hands? Are we wrong to enjoy Nero Wolfe so much?

No. We are right to enjoy Rex Stout's presentation of Nero Wolfe so much, through the brilliant prism of Archie Goodwin. Archie is ingratiation itself, an easy raconteur, an amiable chap who is bright without arrogance, knowledgeable without pretension, and quick-witted without brusqueness. If Nero Wolfe is the pill — and he is — Archie is the sugar coating.

What makes Wolfe palatable is that Archie finds him palatable. What makes him a monster we can enjoy rather than flee from is that Archie stands between us and him. We like Archie, and Archie likes (tolerates, is amused by, is ironic toward, but serves) Nero Wolfe. It's a wonderful conception, strong enough to build a massive readership upon, yet flexible enough for Rex Stout to use over and over for decades, in story after story.

Not that story is the primary issue here. One doesn't drop in at the house on Thirty-fifth Street for the plot line but for the house itself and its denizens — lovingly described, familiar, comfortable, though with Nero Wolfe in charge and Archie as Virgil never so comfortable as to bore.

That Wolfe isn't really that clever a detective hardly matters. (In the present book Archie even has fun over the fact that he and Wolfe can't tell one cigar ash from another, a nicely ironic reference to Sherlock Holmes, another infuriating madman made palatable by his ingratiating interpreter.) That most Nero Wolfe novels — not including The FatherHunt, be assured — depend on at least one thundering coincidence matters not at all. Even the occasional minor glitch, as though Stout had an affinity with those Indian tribes who deliberately include a flaw in their designs so as not to compete with the perfection of the gods, doesn't matter. (This time the glitch is extremely unimportant and occurs in Chapter 12, where Archie assures a young lady that a certain man's name would mean nothing to her even though Archie and the young lady had met the man together in Chapter 8; no matter, no matter.)

Stout had fun with Nero Wolfe. Well, he had fun with life. Having some years earlier written a Wolfe novel called The Mother Hunt, it was probably more than he could resist not to write one called The Father Hunt. It was written when he was seventy-nine, and it all still works. As time goes by, I increasingly find that another comforting thought.

Donald Westlake

Last edited by choad (2017-04-02 14:12:53)

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#44 2017-04-02 15:04:58

Thanks. That was fun.

https://s-media-cache-ak0.pinimg.com/564x/c2/30/2b/c2302bb0a75f0d7493dcc04292374b16.jpg

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#45 2017-04-02 23:21:44

Smudge wrote:

Was it his last book where he left J. Edgar Hoover on the doorstep, refusing to let the bastard into his house?

The Doorbell Rang, which was also one of the stories that Timothy Hutton turned into an episode of the Nero Wolfe TV show.

His last book was A Family Affair where they are betrayed by one of their own and are forced to take matters into their own hands.  It also serves as an excuse for Wolfe to retire and so no more novels.  He supposedly had enough money saved up along with monthly residual payments he was receiving from past cases to make it no longer necessary to "work".

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#46 2017-04-04 16:03:15

I remember watching a couple of those Nero Wolfe TV shows when they were fresh, and I thought they were pretty good; a fun reminder of the stories at any rate. I've gone and hunted down the episodes on torrent and and going to give them a try.

Thanks for the reminder.

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#48 2017-04-06 13:28:35

(The Hammett stories look like great fun, choad!)

I watched The Doorbell Rang (the Timothy Hutton version) last night. I never realized until I saw it dramatized what a huge and very personal 'fuck you' it was from Rex Stout to Edgar Hoover. Stout was using Wolfe as his mouthpiece (and using his success as an author) to humiliate Hoover, to strongly suggest that Hoover was out of control and operating illegally, and finally, to plug the very real book The FBI Nobody Knows, by Fred Cook, which was also highly critical of the FBI under Hoover.

All in all it was a fun ride. I've gotten a hold of the entire two season series, and I suspect I'll work my way through them rapidly.

For anyone who's interested, here's the complete episode of The Doorbell Rang, which I watched last night:

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#49 2017-04-06 16:01:35

http://www.surfertoday.com/images/movies/endlesssummer.jpg

Last edited by Mugwump (2017-04-06 16:02:00)

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#50 2017-04-07 03:46:50

Smudge wrote:

(The Hammett stories look like great fun, choad!)

Hammett's meager output of novels and stories sing in a language entirely absent from screen adaptations of his work, which now seem dated and mannered.

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